Futures drop ahead of March jobs report
Uncertainty over employment figures hit equity futures as economists lower their estimates.
U.S. equity futures declined in early premarket trade ahead of the much-anticipated March jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On average, economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the U.S. added 193,000 jobs in the month, but the most recent updates average closer to 173,000 jobs.
In other news around the markets, Greece is likely to delay its full troika report, according to a Reuters source, meaning the Eurogroup will be unable to pay its next bailout tranche next week. Famed investor George Soros spoke in a CNBC interview overnight about Japan and indicated that the Bank of Japan is taking a massive risk with its new policies and is tempting an avalanche decline in the currency.
Federal Reserve Vice-Chairman Janet Yellen spoke overnight and said she's encouraged by recent positives in the U.S. economy but reiterated that she sees no withdrawal of stimulus any time soon.
- S&P 500 futures declined 9 points to 1,545.
- The EUR/USD was lower at 1.2924 after a wild session Thursday.
- Spanish 10-year government bond yields fell to 4.86% from 4.91%.
- Italian 10-year government bond yields fell to 4.48% from 4.56%.
- Gold rose 0.1% to $1,551.80.
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Asian shares were mixed overnight as Japanese shares continued to climb for a fourth straight day. The Japanese Nikkei Index rose 1.58%, while the broader Topix Index gained 2.74% and the Hang Seng Index slipped 2.73% in Hong Kong. Also, Korean shares continued to decline on war tensions as the Kospi declined 1.64%. Australian shares fell 0.45%.
Europe traded mixed overnight as Spanish and Italian shares rose and other markets fell. The Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.79%, and the Italian FTSE MIB Index rose 0.76%. But the German DAX fell 0.23%, the French CAC fell 0.28% and U.K. shares declined 0.62%.
Commodities were mostly higher overnight despite slightly weaker oil prices. WTI crude futures fell 0.03% to $93.14 per barrel, and Brent crude futures slipped 0.08% to $106.20 per barrel. Copper futures rose 0.51% to $336.55 per pound after taking a beating the last few days. Gold was higher, and silver futures rose 0.63% to $26.86 per ounce.
Currency markets showed dollar strength overnight as the yen halted its decline. The EUR/USD was lower at 1.2924, and the dollar fell against the yen to 96.23. Overall, the Dollar Index rose 0.06% on strength against the euro, the pound, the Swiss franc and the Canadian dollar.
Stocks moving in the premarket included:
- Facebook (FB) shares rose 0.84% after announcing Facebook Home for Android.
- Carnival (CCL) shares fell 1.51% after a ship docked in Alabama broke away from the port.
- Red Hat (RHT) shares fell 0.65% after naming a new head of virtualization to gain market share in the cloud business.
- Bank of America (BAC) shares gained 0.5% after announcing 469 job cuts yesterday.
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Notable companies expected to report earnings Friday include:
- Penford (PENX) is expected to report fourth-quarter EPS of 14 cents vs. a loss of 3 cents per share a year ago.
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On the economics calendar Friday, the Employment Situation Report is due out and economists are looking for nonfarm payroll additions of 190,000 with private payrolls adding 200,000 jobs and the unemployment rate remaining flat at 7.7%. Also, the ECRI Weekly Index will be released.
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